Using Manual Fixes

If you applied a Single Click Fix and it didn't work out (or maybe it did, but your image still needs a little more help), you can enter the world of manual image fixes. I must say, that there isn't a whole lot of manual labor involved, unless you consider moving a handle or slider a strenuous or tedious maneuver.

Manual fixes give you more control in the editing process by allowing you to set the amount of adjustment necessary. Don't be afraid to experiment and see what happens. As I mentioned earlier, that's what the Undo, or if necessary the Cancel, buttons are there for — to bail you out in times of editing gone bad.

Rotating images

When importing your images in Album, you may find that a number of them need to be rotated. Maybe you turned your camera to fit your subject in the viewfinder or you scanned your image sideways in order to get it to fit on the scanning bed. Well, no worries. One of the easiest and most common editing functions is rotating.

In the Fix Photo dialog box

To rotate your image in the Fix Photo dialog box:

1. Select the photo in the Photo Well and choose EditOFix Photo.

You also can double-click the photo twice to bring it into the Fix Photo dialog box.

For the remaining discussion on manual adjustments, I assume your image is in the Fix Photo dialog box and ready to go.

2. Click the Rotate Left or Rotate Right button located in the bottom, shown in Figure 11-8.

You may have to click more than once to get your photo oriented correctly.

3. After you rotate the image to your liking, simply click OK to exit the Fix Photo dialog box.

Album saves an edited (in this case rotated) copy of your original image.

Figure 11-8:

Rotating images is the simplest and most popular edit.

Figure 11-8:

Rotating images is the simplest and most popular edit.

In the Photo Well

You also can rotate a photo right in the Photo Well. This option is actually better if you have several photos that need rotating because you can select and rotate multiple photos all at the same time.

One important difference between rotating images in the Photo Well as opposed to using the Fix Photo dialog box: If you rotate the photos in the Photo Well, the rotation is done and saved over the original file. A new edited file is not created as it is in the Fix Photo dialog box.

Here's how to rotate images using the Photo Well:

1. Select one or more photos.

2. Click the Rotate Left or Rotate Right button in the Options bar.

For a refresher on the Options bar, see Chapter 2.

Like many other commands in Album, there is more than one way to do the same thing. You also can right-click the image and choose Rotate Right or Rotate Left from the context-sensitive menu. Alternatively, you can choose EditORotate Right or EditORotate Left. If you have selected multiple photos, the command appears as EditORotate Selected Photos Right or EditORotate Selected Photos Left.

Cropping photos

The second-most popular editing command is cropping — selectively getting rid of part of the image. Sigh. How many times have I captured way too much distracting background in a photograph?

One of the cardinal rules of good composition is to get close to your subject. Sometimes when shooting the image you may feel you need to get everything in the shot, only to find later that when the image is cropped, it's so much stronger. It is always best to try and frame your subject when you take the photo, but if that doesn't happen, you also can crop it in Album.

Here are the steps to crop a photo in the Fix Photo dialog box:

1. Select Crop from the list of editing options in the top right.

A cropping rectangle appears on your image. Don't worry, you'll have ample opportunity to adjust the handles so that the rectangle surrounds the part of the image that you want to retain.

2. To maintain a desired ratio between the height and width of the cropped image, choose one of several options from the Select Aspect Ratio pop-up menu.

Choosing an Aspect Ratio isn't the same thing as choosing an actual size. Aspect ratio refers to the proportional relationship between height and width. For example, a 4 x 6 aspect ratio is the same as a 2 x 3 aspect ratio.

Choosing No Restriction allows total freedom in moving your cropping handles. Selecting Use Photo Ratio keeps the aspect ratio to the standard rectangular snapshot format no matter what the actual size is.

3. Position your cursor on one of the handles of the cropping rectangle. Drag that handle, and any others, to frame the portion of the photo you want to retain.

4. To move the entire cropping rectangle, position your cursor inside the cropping rectangle. When your cursor changes from an arrow to a hand, drag the rectangle to your desired location on the image, as shown in Figure 11-9.

Figure 11-9:

Adjust the cropping rectangle to frame your image.

Figure 11-9:

Adjust the cropping rectangle to frame your image.

Press the Plus sign key or the Minus sign key to make the cropping rectangle larger or smaller. You also can press the arrows keys to move the rectangle 1 pixel in any direction. Press Shift with an arrow key to move the rectangle 10 pixels in any direction. Luckily, these keyboard shortcuts also work with the red eye rectangle, described in "Removing the dreaded red eye" later in this chapter.

5. When you've framed the image satisfactorily, click the Apply Crop button.

You also can press Enter on your keyboard or double-click inside the rectangle.

6. Click OK to exit the Fix Photo dialog box.

The cropped image appears, as shown in Figure 11-10.

Figure 11-10:

The photo on the top is fine, but the cropped image (bottom) really shines.

Figure 11-10:

The photo on the top is fine, but the cropped image (bottom) really shines.

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If you accidentally chop off someone's body part, you can always click the Undo button. And if you click the Crop button and decide you don't want to crop after all, simply click the Single Click Fix button. The cropping rectangle disappears, and you'll be back at square one.

When you crop an image in any computer program, you are making the image smaller because you are eliminating pixels. Make sure you have sufficient resolution to print the image at the size you want, or else you may not be happy with the quality. For more on resolution, see Chapter 3.

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